September 17, 2010

A night at the races

Chris Sheppard leads Ryan Trebon early in the race.

Tonight, at the local cyclocross race, I saw something pretty amazing.  I wasn’t racing, instead I got to stand on the sidelines, along the long run-up and cheer for so many friends that have cheered and supported me over the last 2 seasons.  Racing cyclocross is the most fun you can have on two wheels, ringing the cowbell is almost as good.

Massimo Larsen cheered on by Amanda Atwill

So that amazing thing about watching cyclocross in Bend?  Best summed up by my friend and cyclocross super-fan Amanda, “Anyone can do this race, and anyone does.”  National Champions, Olympians and World Cup competitors race right along side local heros and first time racers.  By lap 3, Ryan Trebon was gliding over the steep and dusty run-up along side junior racers, gingerly passing them as he levitated to the top.  The juniors, struggling to push their bikes, with weights equivalent to their own, where unfazed with the passing of a national champion; but lifted their knees a little higher when the cheers and cowbell followed them to the top and over the final barrier.
Cary Steinman endures the run-up
We live in Bend, home to super-athletes, wanta-be super-athletes, recreationalists, and a lot of really good people.  Standing in the line at Thump, waiting for your morning caffeine, you might encounter the mother of an Ironman Champion or the daughter of a world ranked Nordic skier.  You might sit beside the guy you saw on the back cover of Velonews.  You might recognize the women behind you from the cover of Runner’s World. 

Is this intimidating?  Is this inspiring?  Depends on the angle you take.  When you stand at the starting line of a local race and look around; be motivated, encouraged, and energized.  Whether wearing a pro-kit or a pair of bagged out lycra shorts, racing is hard.  Racing takes guts.  And racing brings with it a sense of strength, accomplishment and fulfillment that should be acknowledged and celebrated.